Alessandro Dell'Acqua's No. 21 collection is now three seasons old. It hasn't taken him long to develop a recognizable signature, one that marries the lingerie touches that were integral to his former namesake line with a hefty helping of masculine tailoring. One look typical of his new aesthetic: a peach lace button-down and buttercup yellow lace pants topped by a greige lace trench, the lattermost backed in felt for practicality's sake. Other examples: a gold-dipped sweater worn with trousers cut from metallic jacquard, or a boxy white coat with the hem of a befeathered cocktail frock peeking out from underneath. The mannish silhouette/feminine material formula has landed him in 140 stores worldwide, and with a new showroom in New York, he's set his sights on the U.S.
But now that fashion has moved away from minimalism in favor of wild prints and even bolder colors for Spring, a glut of this less overt kind of sportswear is clogging the sales racks. What will make Dell'Acqua's offerings stand out? A starting point could be the cheeky detail. That otherwise unremarkable black and white marled cardigan had a back made from black lace. Similarly, the design on a nude popover top and skirt revealed itself on close inspection to be an embroidery of lips dotted here and there with red rhinestones. A pair of plunge-front dresses, by contrast, were none too subtle. But we'll forgive those, because the long-sleeved hourglass number in which Joan Smalls inched down the catwalk was drop-dead in all the right ways.